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The liberal solution to increase funds for education in Kansas.


The discussion below is keyed to a suggestion by JAFS in another thread.

Two of the biggies listed to obtain revenue for Kansas Schools are federal programs. Let us assume we do as you suggest.

As you suggested we cut Defense let us say by 50%. They close Riley, Leavenworth and maybe McConnell because with half the forces we do not need the base structure to house what we do not have. All the civilian jobs associated with those facilities are lost. The government payroll is lost so many small businesses lay people off (or go out of business). Since we do not need weapons for our total defensive forces, many of the aircraft programs are cancelled and the payroll in Sedgwick suffers. Net gain - minus a lot. Kansas loses jobs, we have to pay for unemployment and we lose the tax revenue. Since the federal budget is about a trillion over income we see no gains from the feds. All that sure helps Kansas pay for more schools.

As you suggested , we means test social security right now. All kinds of seniors in Kansas see significant loses in income. They tighten their belts. Sales tax, property tax and income tax revenue decline. Since social security is broke, there is no drop in federal taxes, as we have to pay for those still on the program. Relationships between seniors and the Me generation fall out the bottom. Few seniors trust government again. The Tea Party gains big!

Got some other ideas or do we go with my question on tax increases here in Kansas. We did sales tax and property taxes so I guess we can do income taxes. We would have to go after more than Mr. Koch, so a whole bunch of people will have less income that they do not spend and we have less state revenue so we have to raise taxes more to cover what we lost. At some point the taxpayers revolt (they probably did already with the election of Mr. Brownback) and well – you get the drift.

50% tax on an income at $100K earned by two people just may be all we are going to get. Maybe we need to rethink how we are spending what we are already spending on education. I might point out that my calculations suggest we have significantly increased educational spending beyond inflation since my days in the classroom. If it was suitable for me, why is it not suitable for the kids today?? Perhaps in fairness to the seniors whose social security you have reduced we should reduce educational spending to the inflation-adjusted equivalent of what was available when those seniors went to school??

This is a hard problem and we need to be creative and not vindictive.


overthemoon 6 years ago

Tax churches that do not meet the standards for tax exemption, namely providing ecumenical or non-religious social programs. Raise taxes on top 10% or those earning more that 250K/yr (like the Congress should have). Cut subsidies/tax breaks for businesses who have shown more than 15% profit for past 5 years.

Those of us who are in the middle to lower incomes are struggling while those in the top income or favored status are making out like bandits. Its time that the burden is equally shared. It would be temporary, but its necessary.

And then everyone who complains should be required to read Kristof's op-ed in the NYT today about education in China vs US.

George Lippencott 6 years ago

We are mixing federal and state issues.

For Kansas to provide a suitable education let us assume we need another $200 million in state revenue annually for K-12. If we confine that to those making more than $150K (top 9%) the marginal tax rate would have to increase to something on the order of 12% on income above $150K. Essential, doubling their state income taxes.

Taxing religion gets complicated. The original reason we avoided doing so was a separation of church and state issue. The power to tax is the power to destroy as opined by John Marshall the American jurist and statesman who shaped American constitutional law and made the Supreme Court a center of power. Marshall was Chief Justice of the United States. Interesting challenge particularly as churches become more diverse and move into activities with no religious content.

George Lippencott 6 years ago

I am not defending - just explaining.

oldvet 6 years ago

At the end of the day it won't matter... The school board will increase the levy to make up the shortfall and property-holders will be paying... and there is not a darn thing you can do about it until some candidates run on the platform to roll back the levy...

George Lippencott 6 years ago


It could. We were stationed in California when Prop 13 came along. Wife voted for it as our property taxes just kept going up. We know the history. Something like that has been before the Kansas Legislature in each of the last several sessions. A coalition of moderates and liberals blocked it in the past. The votes to pass it are now there. E-mail the house leadership as our own reps would never support it. I believe in education but not the way we are doing it or the way we are financing it. By the by, until the legislature changes the law there are stil limits on how much our local school board can tax us (local levy). Same cast of characters. Let somebody know if you think you are paying enough.

thebigspoon 6 years ago

George, your supposition doesn't hold water. You state: "... we have significantly increased educational spending beyond inflation..." In actual point of fact, the cost of per pupil funding in 1991 was about $3600, and is slated to be around slightly more than that under Good Neighbor Sam's budget summary. Now, for your statement to be true, the per pupil offering would have to exceed $5594 to outpace the rate of inflation since 1992, based on federal CPI statistics. Where do you get the figures to back your falsity? I understand you want the state to stay within its means, and that is commendable. But, according to your logic, the per pupil aid dollar amount in Kansas would have to be below even the new Reich's suggestion. How tenable is that position? Not bad if we want to help Kansas kids reach national lows in academic achievement. If that is what you want in order to achieve fiscal responsibility, then power to you. But I suggest that the majority of Kansans would react negatively to your underlying point: that Kansas force mediocrity, or less, in education in order to achieve a slight turnaround in the negative trend of the state budget. Find another soapbox, George, or get some tutoring in real math.

George Lippencott 6 years ago

II appreciate your comment but I chose my base carefully. I went to school (K-12) in the late forties and early fifties and I compared the current rates to my time in school. Do you have data to refute my actual argument? We did in fact significantly increase funding for K-12 during the sixties and thereafter (federal and state) so I do not dispute your argument.

It is kind of like the issue in Ireland. If you pick year A the Catholics are the villains and if you pick year B the Protestants are. I picked my time because I am being asked to pay more with an argument about suitability. Are the nineties the base or the fifties?

Now of course we are faced with whether we can sustain the higher rates we eventually reached or whether there are other claims on our resources however valid our desire to do as well as we can with this generation of children.

thebigspoon 6 years ago

I understand your argument, but, yes, I can refute your argument, but it might be more instructive for you to do the legwork. Go to: http://kansaseducation.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/kansas-education-spending-1969-2007/ and plug in the 1907 per pupil figure (although this is not the figure actually appropriated by the legislature, it will give the same picture). You will see that, adjusted for inflation, the current level of spending should be over $27,000, jsus to keep pace with the past, let alone progress through the future need os our students. Now this does include all educatuional spending, including local property taxes, et al, but, even given that disclaimer, it should be obvious that we as a state have not kept pace with inflation since your benchmark year. The point is, George, that we do have to be quite a bit more fiscally conservative to get out of this mess we're in, but education is not the place to skimp when you consider that the total per pupil outlay in Kansas in 2007, according the U. S. Department of Education, Isnstiute of Educational Sciences report of 2009 (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2010013) was $9855, or about 41 of the rate of inflation since 1970.

Can we sustain this rate of growth in educational spending? Of course not. However, we have to make a sustained effort to make education, which is, and must be, the largest single budget line item in Kansas, the focus of our economic future. Cutting education funding even below one half of inflationary growth is simply not acceptable, unless we want to give our kids even less chance to excel than wwe are now.

thebigspoon 6 years ago

By the way, the figure in the 4th line should be "1970" rather than 1907. Sorry. Typos like that tend to make one's contentions rather ludicrous.

Maddy Griffin 6 years ago

Wouldn't it be nice if schools had all the money they need and the Air Force had to hold a bake sale to buy a new bomber.

Brian Laird 6 years ago

No, but they make us worth protecting...

Scott Drummond 6 years ago

Neither does the military if 9/11, the illegal immigration invasion and all the gun nuts who snap are considered.

thebigspoon 6 years ago

Oh, really? So the military guys have had no education? I'm surre you'll make lots of friends like that.

George Lippencott 6 years ago

Ithebigspoon (

I do not know where you are getting your data but what follows comes from the US Department of Education and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Department of Education data shows that in 1950 the average per pupil expenditures for K-12 was $260. I was in a smaller district in NJ where the amount was less. Using the BLS inflation calculator $260 in 1950 equals $2,350 in 2010. According to the Department of Education the per pupil expenditures for K-12 in Kansas in 2009 was $9800. The US average is about $10K. Median US Income is just over $70K while Kansas comparative is $67K So we are just about right on the money for what the rest of the nation is doing despite several years of slower growth

Sure sounds to me as if it has increased well above inflation and Kansas is not shorting its kids. What am I doing wrong?

Brian Laird 6 years ago

However, one cannot directly compare numbers from 1950. They could probably get closer to your numbers if they only used media that existed then, that is no computer instruction and any other modern technology. In addition, more of the spending now is going towards special needs children, who were either instituionalized or otherwise marginalized in the past. I really don't think that we want to go back to that. Also, it is not correct to use the overall rate of inflation for tasks that are irreducible in terms of personel, that is, those tasks that resist usual productivity increases. For example, producing a can of tomatoes uses far less manpower now than it did in 1950, but one still needs 1 teacher for a class of ca. 30 students - that hasn't changed since 1950. This is why the personel irreducible tasks have a greater inflation rate than other tasks - they cannot as easily take into account productivity improvements due to automation.

George Lippencott 6 years ago


You know I agree with everything you wrote. I specifically concern myself with whether our efforts to help special needs students have come at the expense of the regular students.

That said, my point was and remains that if the education was suitable for me then a simple inflation adjusted number is suitable now. I don't know how to do CPI the way you suggest. Got and idea how or only a notion thereof.

One could argue that computers should reduce the load and make teachers more productive. Removing special needs students from the regular classroom (to the extent we do that) should also ease the teacher load. A goodly portion of my education was conducted in class sizes greater than 30.

IMHO a significant portion of the real increases I documented have come from the addition of what I will call social responsibilities into the educational setting. They may be a good thing but they cost money and we have generations of kids who survived without them. I might observe that in my time if you needed supplies it was your parent's responsibility. If we need computers perhaps the parents should buy them. Whoops, I forgot, I am responsible for righting all the wrongs in our current economic model.

I am not trying to be a hard nose but the fact you acknowledged is that we have improved our educational process significantly since I went to school. Good. But don't tell me that because I balk at going further at greater expense I am shorting the kids. Again IMHO, we could spend a lot more money on things that could improve the educational experience. We could bankrupt the taxpayers in the event.

My definition of suitable remains an inflation adjusted reference to what worked for most kids in the past. It worked because the society improved and prospered. Beyond that growth is not mandatory but with the sufferance of the people paying for it.

gbulldog 6 years ago

Why give more money to our failed education system. To continue to provide money or increase money, we need to find our who our students are. To be classified as a student, the student must document weekly that they are attending, in good standing, and are fluent in English. If a person (under 18 - include unwed mothers) can not prove this, then they must report to a "government" job. This "government "job, located at least 500 miles from the parents residence, would be funded partially from the confication and sale of 22 inch rims and low profile tires, blasting stereo and speakers being used by non students under 18.

Before you write that I've violated someone's rights, realize that all of the above is voluntary. However, the person and their family would be prohibited from receiving any "government assistance".

Before you say this would be "demeaning" and ruin their "self esteem," consider that it wasn't that long ago when taking someone else's money for doing absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self esteem.

If we are expected to pay for other people's mistakes we should at least attempt to make them learn from their bad choices. As a former President said his ignagural address "Ask not what your country can do for you: Ask what can you do for your country." Why should our country continue to reward a large segment of our country for continuing to make bad choices and continuing to be a burden on society.

Scott Drummond 6 years ago

Not sure I accept your premise, George.

Reduction of military spending need not result in the horribles you describe. What if, instead of spending $x to the military complex to build a bomb we spent that $x on a government job cleaning up say industrial waste sites? Would not our society reap greater benefit from such an endeavor, and would not cottage industries (and jobs) develop to serve the government efforts?

George Lippencott 6 years ago

Absolutely, but consider two things. Jafs wanted the money for education not clean up. The second and more pertinent is that the people you layoff are not the ones we would use in the clean up.

That same mistake was made in the argumnent about competing our workers with those in the rest of the world. Clearly, some people have prospered. Some, unfortunately, are not qualified for the new economy and must either accept much lower paying work or milk unemployment for as long as they can. It is a shame that we have not used our money wisely by retraining such people for new jobs, (to the extent we can).

MopedEdd 6 years ago

I was looking over some Kansas history and we have not raised taxes on alcoholic beverages since 1987. As Kansans consume on average 23 gallons of alcoholic beverages (according to Time Magazine 2007) and according to the 09 census there are 2,818,747 of us, perhaps this might be the time to "render unto Ceasear".

George Lippencott 6 years ago

Good idea. Another sin tax - people like those. Might not make you too popular in the bars here in Lawrence

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